The government on Monday assured the Senate that adequate measures were in place to ensure security of Tarbela Dam, as several senators raised concerns that the terrorists may target the country’s largest dam. Responding to the concerns, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources Jam Kamal Khan said that adequate security measures have already been put in place with 200 personnel of Rangers as well as internal security of the Wapda to ensure foolproof monitoring of the strategic asset.
However, a request has already been made for additional personnel of Pakistan Rangers to further tightened security of the country’s largest dam while the SSG commandos who have their training center in the region are also available as reserve force. The motion was moved by PTI’s Senator Samina Abid to discuss the overall security conditions at and around Tarbela Dam and the need for taking stringent measures to protect the dam. She said that the dam was always under threat from the terrorists and the government needs to take immediate measures to protect the strategic asset of the country.
Another PTI’s Senator Nauman Wazir said that the security mechanism of the dam should be shared with the House committee on defence or any other parliamentary forum, as any terrorist incident would be a disaster. Senator Azam Swati also called upon the government to undertake serious measures, saying the dam is a strategic asset and needs adequate security arrangements to prevent any mishap.
PML-N Senator Lieutenant Abdul Qayyum General (Retd) said that the government was alive to ensure security and provide protection to strategic assets like Tarbela dam. He said that some troops belonging to Pakistan Rangers has already been deputed there for providing security to the dam besides, the Wapda has also its own security personnel.
Meanwhile, the House also referred a motion to Committee of the Whole House to discuss the possibility of changing the status of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). The motion which was moved by Senator Mohammad Javed Abbais to discuss the present status of Fata and the possibility of changing its status according to the will of the people of tribal area, which was not opposed by the treasury benches. The House, instead of initiating discussion, referred the motion to Committee of the Whole House on suggestion of Chairman Senate Mian Raza Rabbani for a meaningful discussion and making recommendations for the government.
“This is very important and sensitive matter which needs constitutional amendment and it is my suggestion if the House may recommend to refer the matter to Committee of the Whole House so that meaningful discussion should be held with all stakeholders”, he said, before sending the motion to the Committee. Earlier, mover of the motion Javed Abbasi said that as operation Zarb-e-Azb is leading towards its logical conclusion all concerned should think about the future of the Fata. “We must ponder whether the old system in Fata is capable enough to deal with the future situation…that’s why it is necessary that the century old system is changed as per the will of the people of the area,” he said. He said that there are around 20 parliamentarians in both house of the parliament who can take part in legislation for the whole country but it is unfortunate that they cannot legislate for their own constituencies, the Fata.